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Butte drive-in theater asks court to reject permit allowing gas station construction

Posted at 8:23 PM, Mar 29, 2024

BUTTE - The owners of the drive-in movie theater near Butte are asking the courts to step in and reverse a recent zoning board decision that would allow a gas station to be built next door to it.

“It’s disheartening, kind of a slap in the face of the people who enjoy coming here,” said drive-in co-owner Jens Hansen.

In February, Butte’s zoning board approved a conditional use permit for the Utah-based Maverik Inc. to build a gas station next to the Silver Bow Twin Drive-In off German Gulch Road. The approval was made despite objections from the theater’s owners and many people from the community.

Butte drive-in theater asks court to reject permit allowing gas station construction

The owners filed an appeal of the zoning board’s decision stating it didn’t fully consider the public’s objections and ignored the adverse effects a gas station would have on the theater.

“The lighting from the headlights from the gas station customers turning in and just the building itself. Maverik’s admitted there will be a glow and we’d have to compete with that,” said Hansen.

A member of the zoning board had no comment on the appeal since this is now going to be a legal matter.

The owners of the theater, which has been operating since 1977, expressed concern since learning about the proposed gas station last fall that the close proximity of the business would create light and noise pollution and detract customers from coming to the drive-in.

The appeal is asking the court to reverse the zoning board’s decision and prevent the station from beginning construction until the court decides on the appeal. No hearing date has been set as of the end of March.

“All we can do is just wait and hope that things work out because we have a 48th season and we’d like to be here for many more,” said Hansen.

A message left with Maverik Inc. seeking comment about the appeal was not returned by this deadline.